Kyra Hoevenaars and Jonah van Beijnen, both graduates from Wageningen University (the Netherlands), established the organization in 2008.

When conducting our master research in the Philippines in 2006, we encountered many pristine and ecological important ecosystems. However, we also realized that these ecosystems were being threatened by the fast growing population of the country and unsustainable development projects, like commercial mining and logging.

We considered that conserving these precious natural ecosystems and the people that depend on them, would only be successful when working together with the people that rely on these ecosystems for their livelihood. So it was decided to set up an organization that combines nature conservation projects with the development of sustainable livelihoods and education.

In the first 8 years, the organization (first called the South Sea Exclusive Foundation and then the Centre for Sustainability) focused on sustainable development on the island province of Palawan.

Since June 2016, the forest conservation and community development projects in the Philippines are continued by a local team of the Centre for Sustainability, while the mother organization in the Netherlands continues its pioneering projects with a more international approach under the name Fins and Leaves.